Political parties lose much of their financial weight

MOSCOW, June 10 (RIA Novosti) - Political parties in Russia have calculated the fiscal year's results and concluded that their budgets are dwindling rapidly, a possible sign of the political process' devaluation, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, a daily, reported.

The parties' financial reports were published by the Federal Registration Service, which has been controlling political parties and public associations since 2004. It turns out that the parties lost much of their financial weight in 2004. United Russia is a relative exception - its budget in the past year, though it failed to reach the 2003 level of 1.17 billion rubles ($1 = 28.45 rubles), remained at just more than 915 million rubles.

The liberal parties had the least of all to work with. The Union of Right Forces (SPS) (which invested 218 million rubles in parliamentary elections-2003) had about 49 million rubles, and Yabloko had only 42 million. Funding for the Communist Party (KPRF) dropped, though not significantly, from 112 million to 73.1 million. And The Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) budget also shrank from 121 million to 91 million.

Donations by citizens and organizations remain the main source of income for most of the parties. However, United Russia supporters contributed only 157 million rubles, while the party received more than 713 million from legal entities.

The parties' spending is also of some interest. LDPR spent most of its money on elections and on its own popularization, and merely 672,000 was spent on supporting party leadership. KPRF and SPS spent nothing on their leaders, but United Russia spent 209 million on its leadership, 10 times as much as it spent on all elections combined.

While the parties have to pay much for the maintenance of their regional departments (SPS spent a quarter of its budget on them and United Russia spent 402 million), the elections in the regions cost next to nothing as usual.

The Chechen presidential elections, however, cost United Russia 95% less than the election campaign of the governor of Bryansk. It spent 87,000 rubles in Chechnya and 1.5 million rubles in Bryansk.

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